Recently we embarked on our own adventure... the reasons for moving 400 miles north were simple; expansion, efficiency and creativity. Not to mention the utter beauty of the Scottish landscape.
Since our launch in 2015, on numerous occasions, we’ve discussed where to place our business to give it the best opportunity to succeed. Initially the business was run remotely - there was no need for premises as we had no stock or employees at the time, but when October 2016 arrived along with a few thousand Cherwell watches, we knew the kitchen table wasn’t going to cut it any longer. Oliver had been living in Sweden until mid-2016 and returned to the UK to oversee this transition - he was best placed professionally to deal with both his day job and our new business requirements simultaneously. We quickly identified a purpose-built “rent-an-office” space in High Wycombe, just round the corner from where Oliver was now living in Marlow. Over the following weeks, between me fitting 3,000 individual straps to watch heads and Oliver boxing the rewards, we shipped our first sales for Marloe Watch Company. Everything was going great, we had an office which, despite it being a bit underwhelming visually, served our purposes. Soon though, we had people requesting to come and visit us, and we were quickly running out of space with the Derwent and Lomond productions on their way, not to mention the space being rather unpleasing on the eye, so after only 6-short months we decided it was time to get our first 'proper' office.
We weren’t having much luck through the usual estate agent channels, so through a bit of creative searching, including a spot of friendly doorstepping at some grand Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire estates, we managed to find an office in Lower Shiplake, next door to Henley-on-Thames, where Oliver was about to move to, which gave us everything we needed. The Dovecot Office, of which many of you are familiar, became our home for the following three years.
Oliver was to join MWC full time before me; the operations and logistics side of the business was far more cumbersome a process than the design side, which I could easily control in my office and work around my full-time day job. Pretty soon though we realised that I was working later and later into the wee hours of the morning, whilst still going to my full-time day job. The tipping point arrived and both Oliver and I found ourselves working for the company we had started a little over 2 years prior.
And so it remained. We worked hard and we grew the business to the point we needed more help, and that’s when Stephanie joined us. An incredible discovery; a more talented writer, copy editor, researcher and storyteller you shan't find. And a fellow Scot! Yet the more we grew, the more we needed content to share on social, the more connected I needed to be to the business and the daily goings on. This was impossible to do remotely - so many things happen each day that for Oliver or Stephanie to manage these additional, daily and process intensive tasks was simply not realistic. You might have noticed that our social feeds lit up periodically with new pictures and daily goings on. That’s because I had flown down and was stationed, a week at a time, in MWC HQ. We would cram in as much as possible, often too much, and then I’d fly back up to Scotland and settle back into my one-man-studio.
As we approached Q4 of 2019, an opportunity presented itself for another move but this time up to Scotland, with further potential to develop a bespoke, purpose-built headquarters for MWC. Bringing the business up to Scotland meant I could finally have more control over our brand image, our social and visual output, our creative direction, and continue to develop products that resonate with our customers. It’s hard to do these things if all the visual elements of the business are 400 miles away and you don’t have eyes over absolutely everything, creatively speaking. It doesn’t take much effort to start deviating from brand consistency if there’s nobody driving and checking it daily.
It also meant that Oliver, by releasing a lot of his daily burdens that come with running an office, could focus more on developing the MWC business and making sure that we are constantly, consistently, going in the right direction. Yes the design side is important, but the more mundane bits and pieces - the mechanics, the nuts and bolts of what makes a company run, is if not equally, then more important. The decision to move our operation to Scotland was made in late 2019, and despite a lot of mis-fires in the premises department, we finally found a place that was big enough and convenient enough for me, some more staff and all of our “stuff”.
Early in January we made the decision to move MWC ourselves - so with two luton vans, four large DHL shipments and huge assistance from friends and family, we set about on our adventure. It took us around three days to unpack and place everything we needed to operate properly, but soon enough we were shipping out orders and running our company once more. All is well - the temporary office* looks great and those who know about our move have been incredibly supportive, both in regards to our motives and our direction, as a company.
And so it is. We are now switched in our locations, Oliver and I; instead of travelling a week each month to Henley-on-Thames, Oliver will now travel a week each month to Perth (once restrictions have been lifted). The future of MWC is no more certain than anything or anyone else, but what I do know is that I am so proud to see our little company here in my homeland; I am interacting with more people daily than I ever have before, seeing the ins and outs of daily MWC life, and looking increasingly more excitedly to what the future may hold.
*watch this space